National rankings are more than just good news for our institution. They are a reflection of the university’s mission and commitment to the community to enhance lives through cutting-edge research, education, and dedicated public service.

UCI has been ranked ninth among the nation’s public universities on U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 list of “Best Colleges.”*

This is the seventh consecutive year in which UCI has placed in the Top 10 and our larger community is truly the better for it.

What's more, for the second year in a row, the university is ranked No. 2 in the category of Upward Social Mobility, a reflection of our commitment to needs-based and primarily first-generation students. These high achievers are some of our best and brightest. They fuel our collective impact and are living examples of the transformative nature of the work done at UCI. The ranking also speaks to our successful graduation rate of Pell Grant recipients, whose tuition, fees, room and board are subsidized by the U.S. Department of Education.

“We are delighted that UCI has once again been recognized as one of the premier universities in the nation,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman.“ And being No. 2 overall for social mobility validates our intentional agenda to promote the American dream by being an engine of upward mobility through higher education.”

Students at graduation celebrating and hugging

Serving Orange County, Advancing Opportunity

As a public university, UCI always acts in the interest of the community. Efforts related to equity and outcomes may show up in rankings, but more importantly, they show up in the work and limitless potential of our students. Access and opportunity are central to the UCI story. Consider: 

  • UCI is the No. 1 UC campus application choice for first-generation California students for four consecutive years
  • Nearly 10,000 UCI enrollees received Pell Grants in 2021-22
  • Almost half of bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2021 went to first-generation students
  • UCI has been designated as both a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution
  • Launched in 2020, UCI’s Black Thriving Initiative is mobilizing the whole university to promote black student success, degree completion and advancement in academic programs, with a goal of making UCI a first choice for black students.

Who Knew Being Green Would Be This Cool?

In addition to the achievements of our people, UCI is proud to serve the needs of our planet. Set against the backdrop of the beautiful community we call home, UCI has again been named a Top 10 “Cool School” for sustainability by Sierra magazine.

This is the 12th consecutive year we’ve been noted for our environmental work.

UCI’s roots run deep in matters of sustainability, dating back to our Earth System Science department, the nation’s first interdisciplinary academic department to focus on climate change. And we didn’t stop there. Students today are empowered via the Environmental Justice Collective, discussing ways to align sustainability and social justice. UCI has also managed to maintain a waste diversion rate of 80 percent via education initiatives and advanced sorting measures.

Other sustainability efforts we take pride in:

  • Constructed 21 LEED Platinum-certified buildings, the most for new construction of any U.S. university
  • Created a successful Pump2Plug program in which 350-plus participants have switched to electric vehicles; the campus boasts nearly 200 EV charging stations
  • Became part of Bee Campus USA, thanks to a fully student-led effort
  • UCI stewardship/management of the San Joaquin Marsh Reserve and forecasting coastal flooding research and fighting fires with AI research
Students planting orange trees on the campus

Doing OC Proud

To be sure, these “Best College” and sustainability rankings are meaningful indicators of what a special place UCI is. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni can feel good knowing where we stand among the nation’s leaders. But beyond that, these rankings are a significant acknowledgement of the positive impact the university is making on our community at large.

Join Us

UCI donors are essential to helping us fulfill our mission to serve the community. Join us in making a difference here in Orange County.

*Now in its 37th year, the U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” rankings assess 1,466 of the country’s bachelor’s degree-granting institutions on 17 measures of academic quality.